I am a horror/thriller genre LOVER. When I saw that writer/director Mike Flanagan had a new film called “Hush” out on Netflix via Blumhouse, I freaked out. I love his work. I love Blumhouse. I loved it before I pressed play. And then… I did press play and “Hush” was everything I knew it would be and more. Being the exhaustive researcher that I am, I started down the google and imdb rabbit holes and became thoroughly impressed with Kate Siegel who co-wrote “Hush” and starred in it.
Many of the writers here at Ms. In The Biz (as well as the readers) are multi-hyphenate writer/producer/actors, so spotlighting Kate on this site was a no brainer. So, let’s get to it! Here is the epicly awesome Kate Siegel!
Q: First off, I have to say that I absolutely LOVED “Hush”. Your performance in it is phenomenal. But before we get into all of that, let’s start at the beginning. Where did you grow up and was acting always a part of your life?
A: I grew up outside Washington, DC and acting was always a huge part of my life. I was a very…dramatic…child, and my parents helped me discover acting as a way to process my intense emotions. I’m not sure they had much of a choice, though. I was always putting on skits with my friends and performing around the house.
Q: When did you begin writing? Was it something that always called to you as a creative outlet, or was it more of a means to an end? I ask this because so many of our readers and writers at Ms. In The Biz are multi-hyphenate actor/writer/producers, and more often then not they fell into writing as a way to generate work for themselves.
A: I absolutely fell into writing as a way to generate my own work. It’s been a long ten years in LA, and I think once I passed 25 I stopped being comfortable with other people deciding the path my career would take. I’m a little too strong-willed for that.
Q: I love that you co-wrote “Hush” with your husband, Mike Flanagan. My husband and I also work on projects as writing and producing partners, so I love seeing couples rocking it. What was the writing process like for the two of you and do you have more films that you are writing together in the pipeline?
A: We love working together. Our home life involves a lot of movie watching and joking and making up pretend movies, and when we found this idea it felt like a natural transition. That being said, Hush was a strange script to write because of the lack of dialogue. So most of that process was Mike outside our house trying to break in and me inside the house trying to survive. When we came across a scenario we liked, and thought was creatively interesting, we would both sit down at the table and write it out. There were plenty of evenings that ended in “intense conversations” but luckily the two of us have a great deal of respect and trust in the other as artists, so we were almost always able to find the compromise. We are working on another script now, for Bold films, that’s in it’s final re-write.
Q: From the interview I read that you did with Fangoria, it sounds like “Hush” moved from idea to production very quickly. Can you tell us a bit about the pitching process?
A: It moved so quickly! I am used to things taking forever. But Mike had a really strong relationship with Jason Blum (Blumhouse) and Trevor Macy (Intrepid) due to the success of Oculus, so he brought them a quick little pitch and before he was even finished with the second sentence Jason said “I’m in. Let’s go do it!” I think that was 100% due to the pre-exisiting relationship Mike and I had with Jason and Trevor.
Q: Did you know how to do sign language before “Hush” or is it something that you learned for this project?
A: I had to learn for the project. It’s such a beautifully complex language. I love how expressive it allows the speaker to be.
Q: What was the most challenging aspect of the shoot? I’m guessing the all night shoots, which can be such a killer (pun totally intended)?
A: The nights were rough, that’s for sure. We were lucky enough to shoot basically in chronological order, so as the shooting schedule began to wear on me, it was a accurate reflection of Maddie’s emotional state as well. So I guess it was a blessing in disguise! But the hardest for me was wearing the prosthetic for the last chunk of shooting. I don’t want to spoil anything, but that thing was a real pain in the ass. Two hours to get into and I had to keep it on for 12 and two more hour to get out of. I don’t miss that.
Q: It’s awesome that you told Fangoria that you would love to play Ripley in an Aliens remake. Are there other types of roles that you’d like to tackle but haven’t had the opportunity to play yet?
A: Ripley forever! I loved that she was allowed to be vulnerable and a complete bad ass. I’m also on the hunt now for a real stone-cold broad. Like Claire Underwood. Someone whose motives are good, but is really making all the wrong choices. Perhaps the villain?
Q: This industry can be really tough for people to navigate and not get caught up in the craziness of it all. Is there anything in particular that you do to help you stay grounded?
A: I think it has everything to do with whom you choose to surround yourself with. If you’re looking for a reflection of how your career/life is going, look at those you choose to spend your time with. You’re probably a lot like them. I try to hunt out grounded, funny and sensitive people who like red wine and movies.
April 25, 2016
by Helenna Santos